European Union Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019

On 15 June 2020, the EU published its Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019, which contains a wealth of interesting information on “EU action to stop the erosion of human rights worldwide” (High Representative Josep Borrell). It provides an excellent overview of the various initiatives of the EU at multilateral level, the implementation of the EU human rights guidelines and other instruments of EU foreign policy, such as human rights dialogues. The activities of Eamon Gilmore, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights are also portrayed, who spoke at last year’s EMA Graduation Ceremony in Venice about the multiple challenges that human rights and democracy face in today’s world.

The Annual Report describes a broad variety of innovative human rights projects that were financed in 2019 under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. We are extremely pleased that this report also highlights two projects in which the Global Campus of Human Rights is intensively involved: the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, which was co-funded by the EU and officially launched in November 2019.

The finalization of the Global Study, its launch in Geneva and many further follow-up activities in Pretoria, Bangkok and other regions also received decisive support through our partnership with the Right Livelihood Foundation. We are continuing these activities to raise global awareness about the suffering of more than 7 million children deprived of liberty worldwide and to assist States in their efforts of deinstitutionalization, diversion, ending migration-related detention of children and other measures aimed at drastically reducing the number of children deprived of liberty worldwide.

Among thousands of human rights projects funded by the EU, this Annual Report puts a special emphasis on our capacity-building project in Timor Leste as a true success story. Within only a few months, Adriano Remiddi and his dedicated team in Dili were able to establish the first Human Rights Centre at the National University of Timor Leste.

This Centre engages in training and research activities, international networking and in organizing weekly public events involving hundreds of young people to discuss the most pressing human rights issues in this young country, which celebrated last year the 20thanniversary of a UN sponsored referendum that finally led to its independence after many years of struggle. With the assistance of Mahidol University, students and professors from the National University of Timor Leste receive advanced human rights training in Bangkok with the aim of enabling the National University to soon join the Asia-Pacific Master in Human Rights and Democratisation and the Global Campus of Human Rights. Congratulations to our colleagues in Dili and Bangkok for this important recognition of their outstanding work!

Veronica Gomez and Manfred Nowak

President and Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights

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